Play Theater is coming alive again... only this time i am calling it Play Theater presents “Small Happenings”. It has taken this jump of ten or so years to figure out what i learned from the first bout with my own theater and what i needed to do with the information i gained. SOoooooo now i think i have got it. What i am after are things for groups of people to do... like an orchestra made up of many people doing one thing. So i have these pieces and now i want to try them out... and thus comes Small Happenings. Will they work? We will see.
This blog is a record of how i put the whole thing together... making performing areas in odd shaped studio spaces... putting together a program of events that take place in three different spaces and moving the audience into and out of those scenes... getting guests who are willing to share... building the objects that are needed for each scene... and on and on with all the details of making a smooth seamless experience for everyone.
I am told that my ideas of theatre are unconventional and they may be but they come from a long tradition of performances. Back in the 1960’s when i was getting my master’s degree, we all screamed about breaking down the proscenium arch and bringing the play into the audience… so lots of folk tried and seceded... but i found that approach didn’t interest me. What i want to do is break down the division between performer and watcher. There is something about the passivity/judgment OKentertainme/blow-my-mindfellow... that i do not like. SH is my next attempt to entice you into becoming a part of the show.
For years after i had learned all i could learn then from Play Theatre... i avoided performance of any sort... but then i found myself doing strange things and costly things. I became obsessed in ordering the studios… all the manuscripts, bits of paper with ?a pohm? scribbled... incomplete doodle/drawings... boxes of things that might make interesting books... and junkstuff. This culling has gone on for years... still isn’t done… it drove/drives me MAD. Why am i bothering no one will read the stuff anyway.
Then i found myself bringing in an electrician to re hang the old jury-rigged lighting system i helped put in place twenty years ago… put in new fixtures and add dimmers… DIMMERS! YEA! Not cheep. Then Katharine Livingston and i spent three years working on a piece Dance of Life and we needed to see what we were doing and put on seven performances. I was very reluctant to take on the Older Dancer role but when push came and it wouldn’t happen if i didn’t. I did. Reviving PT never entered my mind
Then as i kept clearing out the studios of junk, i became very annoyed by the paintflacking floor… and i began to have a sneaking feeling that whatever drives me had been leading me by the nose up to the realization that i needed to revive Play Theatre… not in the way it was… not in a straight forward way… just ambling along… doing what needed to be done way and last week the floor did get painted… yellow!
Now looking back i think i needed to start in a clear defined physical space... a stage floor. I needed a blank (ish) area… a blank canvass… dedicated devoted MINE. As the space became cleaner i began... in my mind to design pieces for people to do things they might not do... safe places to be free in... to make a mark... a lasting record to examine over time... as well as a place for folk to share the work that drives them.
Yesterday i put together a program and since i will be creating a program for each performance i did it in InDesign all pretty like. i will print it out with a list of things i need help with and present it to Karen and John Bushel in hopes that i can tempt them into helping get everything ready. Alan, trouper that he is, i can count on. The temptation runs like this: Do what you want, when you want, how you want toward a goal we all have set. i call it Working Anarchy.
In the meantime i will begin a list of folk to ask as guest performers… continue to set up the spaces… get the electronics ready for slide shows and recordings… Detail all the sounds, light arraignments, prop needs, find and fill the individual “bags” which will be on each chair… rearrange the painting that are now on the walls… Set the dates in January and February, 2016 (i will be doing these evenings when ever i am in town)… find the branches for the loom for the piece… Everybody Weaves… an endless list… of wonderfully fun things to do.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!